A brief history of the school The Italian Bilingual School was established in 2002. It started with a Kindergarten class of 7 students and by the end of the year had grown to 9 students. In June the same year the Preps Program started. The school was situated on the grounds of Five Dock Public School from 2002 until the end of 2004. In 2005, the school moved to the Casa D’Italia in Norton Street, Leichhardt. In 2013, the school will move to Meadowbank as its definitive home.
The Curriculum Approximately one half of the timetable is devoted to teaching through Italian and the other half through English, thereby providing a balanced exposure to the two languages. English, Maths and PDHPE are taught in English; all other Key Learning Areas are taught in Italian with an equitable balance to be maintained throughout the various levels of schooling. The school maintains a basic philosophy of ‘una faccia una lingua’ ‘one face one language’, in other words the Italian teacher will only speak Italian to the students and the English teacher will only speak English, although it is highly likely that the teachers are actually bilingual.
Year 2 Italian Bilingual School 22 students aged between 7 and 8 Many different degrees of language competency ranging from bilingual with one of the parents born in Italy to no Italian background whatsoever. Different social development Different family culture and background
Addressing the students needs: how can I teach skills and content to such a variety of students so they don’t miss out or get bored?
Preamble If I’m looking for evidence of individual achievement in order to evaluate program success, how can I know I’m looking at the right phenomena? Should I rely on evaluations that relate performance on standardized tests to incentive and reward correct grammatical structures?If I’m looking for evidence of individual achievement in order to evaluate program success Should I instead, as a means of gaining more direct insights into the potential benefits of cooperative learning, examine more closely how collaboration reveals itself in the classroom and analyse what children do in working together and how I meet the challenge of entering into informal interactions with student groups? This is the course I intend to take here.
process of Identifying techniques and processes designed in the best interests of all students Going beyond purely academic achievement in order to find students’ abilities that are not always indicated by tests and school performance. Both informal and formal data (pre-testing language competency against Stage 2 Italian Syllabus) gathering, was being used. Class organization must be flexible and multidimensional to ensure representation of all students. A learning environment which encouraged students to develop their full potential needed to be organised
My answer: collaborative learning. Why? What did I aim to promote? Raise of achievements of all students Positive relationships among students Experience on healthy social, psychological, and cognitive development Replace competition for cooperation Replace teacher-directed lessons for student-centered Interactive pair and group activities Development of learning and communication strategies Reduce learner stress and create a positive affective classroom climate
Theory of language interaction and development Interactive and cooperative nature of language Communication as a primary purpose of language Most speech is organized as conversation Communication takes place upon certain agreed-upon set of cooperative rules We learn these social rules in conversational interaction
Grouping: Interaction occurs as a result of the positive interdependence. To maximize opportunity for success: –Groups small (2 - 6 students) –Heterogeneous groups Guidelines for interaction: –Acceptance, support, trust, respect –Exchange of information –Motivation
Role of the teacher Analyse and plan learning tasks more rigorously Design group activities which are interactive and which provide visual and contextual support Link curriculum content with language and literacy development Observe and evaluate pupils’ learning as group and as individual throughout quality assessment tasks Activate and build upon children’s prior knowledge and experience.
How? to make complex ideas accessible by presenting them in concrete, visual and tactile ways. By taking abstract thinking out of your heads and putting it on the table. By breaking ideas down and presenting them with lots of detail and examples. By providing scaffolding
What did we do? Cogs: Powering-on which needed to be adapted to suit collaborative learning Content modifications: The areas of modification are based on Bloom’s taxonomy and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory. The Maker model (was chosen to modify the unit, as its use can produce ‘substantial’ gains for students in the academic, social and emotional domains of development. The unit has been modified in content, process and product. The learning environment is a positive and student-centred workplace.
Content modification Abstraction: What is a toy? What kinds of toys are there? Complexity: Identify ways that toys can move Variety: What is a push, pull? Friction? Pneumatics? Organisation: Draw diagrams as explanation
Product modifications Real-world problems: Build a toy to play with your friends Real audiences: Write an instruction booklet for you friend to build the same toy Write an instruction booklet for you friend to build the same toy Evaluations: students evaluate their toy using pre-established criteria.
Learning environment · is flexible and open · encourages independent and intrinsic learning · encourages complex and abstract thought · is student-centred
Italian Procedures, joint construction, label models/sketches, talking and explain to audience Comment: not lengthy written responses in individual assessment tasks
Comments: During literacy activities, students write drafts, revise and edit one another's work, and prepare to "publish" their writing. The examples are the final product. Students shift their communicative style from informal peer group conversational forms to more formal styles of schooled writing requirements when aware of individual assessment task
Students self -correction Students frequently start with incomplete or ungrammatical expressions. These are then gradually built on over several attempts until the correct answer is found. This is due in part to the differences between English–which relies on pronouns to mark the shift in perspective that the answer format requires–and Italian, where verbs are inflected for person by means of a verb suffix, while personal pronouns mark special emphasis. the alternate use of two languages in the same interaction is used by the student as a resource for integrating what she knows about the activity.
How does the English component integrate the learning of content and skills taught in Italian?
Students self reflection : This is an informal conversation with the children about the possibility of transferring skills from one language to an other, the telephone I was using to record their answers was placed on the table, soon after they realised I was recording!
Integration The greater part of integration happens through teaching the prescribed text types related to each COGs Unit The text type taught for the science and tech unit “Powering On” was explanation. As a lead up activity we discussed and analysed another explanation not related to our topic.
a blank scaffold was displayed on the Smartboard followed by a discussion of how to sequence the explanation of toy they made during the Italian component
The students were asked to work in the same heterogeneous grouping used during Italian in order to discuss how they created their toy. Each group had a scribe and a leader They had to write in bullet points the sequence and steps of how they created their toy monster Followed by a brainstorming class activity of words that would help them to write their individual explanation
Advantages of working on the same CoGs unit and sharing responsibilities Students working on tasks such as the one above in English and relating back to work covered in Italian gives me evidence of individual achievement in order to evaluate program successStudents working on tasks such as the one above in English and relating back to work covered in Italian gives me evidence of individual achievement in order to evaluate program success When students work on a real-world task as opposed to a less relevant one it makes the task of writing in English more engaging and purposefulWhen students work on a real-world task as opposed to a less relevant one it makes the task of writing in English more engaging and purposeful The writing tasks are always in context in both languages.
Comments According to our experience the continued support of the first language whilst learning the second language has been beneficial for cognitive development.